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March 7, 2022

BC/DR – why it’s time to get serious

For years, it’s been normal for pundits, experts, and academics to consistently harp on to business leaders to fully back and fund business continuity and disaster recovery efforts (BC/DR), especially in IT. There is broad agreement that these plans are not only the fiduciary duty of the company officers and the board of directors, but also just sensible action. But when it comes to actually doing it, the results are often far from comprehensive , robust, and often completely untested.

The prevailing attitude is, from both executives and even some IT professionals is “that couldn’t happen here.” Anyone who can maintain that attitude in the light of a worldwide pandemic, heavy geopolitical unrest, climate change, labor issues, and supply chain problems is practicing apex-level willful blindness. Formal justification for BC/DR planning, execution and testing at this point can done by just gesturing vaguely around at everything.

The only way to solve a problem is to first admit that there *is* a problem. For enterprises, the board of directors needs to not only mandate fully implemented and tested BC/DR procedures, but also needs to authorize sufficient funding as well. CEOs and senior executives must also be fully behind the initiative and communicate the need to actively participate to their staff.

BC/DR needs executive buy in

Executive unity and drive behind BC/DR are essential, the effort cannot come solely from IT. It requires input and active participation from all areas of the company to be successful. Additionally, executive unity and drive are needed to address the human factor. BC/DR planning, implementation, and testing all require additional workload, in addition existing tasks. On top of that BC/DR feels like it is a task that can be put of or might be unnecessary, despite the giant flashing red warning signs the last few years have provided. Executive resolve can cut through the inertia and ensure that BC/DR is a priority.

No doubt there are a few people reading this with the smugness looking at their BC/DR binder and plan all set to go. But when was last time the plan was reviewed? When was the last time the plan was tested? Was this created since the beginning of the pandemic? Does the plan take into account the supply chain difficulties of today? If the plan relied on your favourite vendor shipping you new equipment on an emergency basis, you probably need to revisit that assumption. BC/DR plans need to be updated yearly and sometimes more often if there is an acquisition or if the circumstances radically change, such as a world-wide chip shortage. There are vendors and experts out there that can help with BC/DR plans, companies do not have to do it alone, but they also cannot do it without internal buy-in and effort. If you were looking for a reason to create or update your BC/DR plans, this is your sign. It is time to get serious on BC/DR.